City of Brass

City of Brass


nuevo-conservatism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The topic of conservatism’s intellectual decline is one I’ve been talking about a lot recently; I’ve been remiss in not mentioning the recent piece on that topic in the WaPo by Steven Hayward. He makes a number of points, but here’s I think his main argument:

[It] was not enough just to expose liberalism’s weakness; it was also necessary to offer robust alternatives for both foreign and domestic policy, ideas that came to fruition in the Reagan years. Today, it is not clear that conservative thinkers have compelling alternatives to Obama’s economic or foreign policy. At best, the right is badly divided over how to fix the economy and handle Iran and Afghanistan. So for the time being, the populists alone have the spotlight.



The single largest defect of modern conservatism, in my mind, is its insufficient ability to challenge liberalism at the intellectual level, in particular over the meaning and nature of progress. In response to the left’s belief in political solutions for everything, the right must do better than merely invoking “markets” and “liberty.”

As mainstream “Happy Meal” conservatism wanes under populist and knee-jerk response dogma, there’s an opening for a new generation of conservatives who stand out all the more. The best example in my mind is the League of Ordinary Gentlemen. Other examples of nuevo-cons are Rod Dreher, Daniel Larison, and Reihan Salaam. These are the names to watch. It’s they who will take the Reagan era conservative ideals and synthesize them into the modern age, making them relevant again.

One thing conservatives have to accept though is that there is no more validity to the concept of small govt. Its always going to big. The question is, how will it be used? My own liberal and libertarian inclinations combine in such a way as to favor govt action on the major issues so that govt is too busy to act on the small ones. Frankly, I fear the tyranny of local govt far more because there are fewer checks and balances on it; the threat of economic oppression by unrestrained capitalism also is something conservative ideology is tailormade to defend against. The challenge for conservatives now is to dial back on the rhetoric and re-examine the issues of today with the core principles – freedom, opportunity, culture – instead of blindly applying dogma (limited govt, lower taxes) like a blunt instrument.

Related: “The Death of Conservatism” by Sam Tanenhaus. See an interview with Tanenhaus where he lays out his basic thesis.

UPDATE: Speaking of the LOG, how could I fail to link their own response to Hayward’s piece (with some cogent critique)?



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

the State of the Ummah, 2014/1436
I tuned into President Obama's 2014 SOTU for a while last week - mainly beca

posted 12:06:37pm Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

je ne suis pas Charlie #IamNotCharlie
I fully support the right, and I also deeply appreciate the sentiment, of the cartoonist Luz, who is one of the survivors of the despicable attack on the office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that was attacked by Al Qaeda last week. Here is Luz's (translated) statement in full: I invoked all

posted 8:56:46am Jan. 14, 2015 | read full post »

Merry Milad and Happy New Year
This year, Milad al Nabi is closer to the New

posted 12:25:41am Jan. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Have a very Muslim Merry Christmas
And We sent, following in their footsteps, Jesus, the son of Mary, confirming that which came before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel, in which was guidance and light and confirming that which preceded it of the Torah as guidance and instruction for the righteous. -- Qur'an 5:46 And t

posted 11:46:49am Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Vote now in the (delayed slightly) Brass Crescent Awards!
Voting in this year's Brass Crescent Awards is now underway, after a few months' delay. Here's the explanation from the official site: We would like to sincerely apologize for the delay in this year's voting. The reason for the delay was that we did not have sufficient blogsphere nominations as w

posted 10:30:42pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.